The Senate passed HR 3548 on Thursday, ensuring at least an additional 14 weeks of coverage for Americans at risk of losing their unemployment benefits. That is, as soon as President Obama signs it into law. He's expected to do that within days, possibly as early as Friday.
It's good news for unemployed Americans and their families, and for the economy at large. Economists say the recovery depends on consumer spending, which will only fall if unemployed workers are left to hang in the wind. It's not as good as a true jobs-creation program, but it's better than nothing.
Experts expect Friday's data release from the U.S. Labor Department to show unemployment rising to 9.9 percent. Unemployment figures around the world don't offer any respite. With the Dow hitting 10,000 again and the U.S. economy growing at 3.5 percent over the most recent quarter, concerns are rising of a possible "jobless recovery."
Those of you who are employed, try taking it a little easier on the job. Your recent productivity gains might be making the boss think he doesn't need to hire your friends or family.